Super Smash Bros. has always held a special place in my heart. I’ve spent thousands of hours meleeing, brawling and now 3DS-ing. The name of the new game may not be the best, but everything else about it is excellent.
Sharing a release with it’s Wii U brother, Super Smash Bros. For Nintendo 3DS also shares a character roster, several of its stages and a good amount of singleplayer content. All the modes you would want are there, such as Classic, All-Star, Home-Run Contest and multiplayer. Alongside the traditional modes you’ll find new offerings in a Trophy Shop, Target Blast (an Angry Birds style bomb mini-game), StreetSmash, amiibo usage and Smash Run.
StreetSmash is a Streetpass mode exclusive to the 3DS version of the game. In it you move your chosen character token around a small stage, charging attacks to knock those you’ve passed off the stage. You can block, counter and dodge too. You win prizes such as trophies and coins for clearing the stage. It’s usually pretty easy, but with ten characters on the screen it can get fairly tricky. StreetSmash isn’t brilliant, but it is certainly fun enough, bulking up an already large amount of content.
Smash Run is another mode exclusive to the 3DS version, and this mode is more fully featured. In it, you and three other characters (up to four players can play if all own a copy of the game and a 3DS) are dropped into a large area full of enemies taken from series represented in the game’s roster. It looks and feels a lot like Melee’s Adventure mode, but with a twist. Your aim is to collect as many stat boosting items as you can, to give you the edge in a randomised event at the end of the five minutes on the field. These randomised events include but are not limited to battles, running races and climbing. You never know what’s going to come up at the end, so you need to get prepared for all eventualities.
Before you start Smash Run however, you can equip any character with items you unlock by playing through any of the game’s singleplayer modes. These can equip your fighter with weaponry, special powers, unique attacks to Smash Run and so on. It’s a neat mode in multiplayer, but with the randomised events, it struggles to hold your interest. Certain events make certain characters pointless. Say you picked Ganondorf. You get loads of stat boosts for Jump and Running Speed. It doesn’t matter, he will still be outrun or out-jumped by any of the opposition. I think Smash Run could’ve been improved if you knew what the event was before you picked your character, so you could choose accordingly. I know some people who love the random nature of the mode though, so you could too.
Smash Run is by no means a deal breaker however. Super Smash Bros. 3DS has more than enough going for it despite a lack of a story mode or Event mode. The 50+ strong roster (including paid DLC characters) is the best the series has ever produced. With so many characters, it takes ages to complete the Classic and All-Star modes. The Classic and All-Star modes have been given a nice update too, more so Classic mode. You can fully edit difficulty, just as in Kid Icarus: Uprising, and just as in that, the higher the difficulty, the greater the rewards. I love this difficulty option and wish it was in all games.
The new additions compliment the returning veterans very well and there are plenty of newbies to choose from too: Villager, Wii Fit Trainer, Shulk, Greninja, Rosalina & Luma, Palutena, Lucina, Little Mac, Robin, Mega-Man, the three Miis and Pacman are all great additions to the series. There are some secret(ish) characters too, but I don’t want to spoil those in the ever so slight possibility that someone hasn’t seen them! The roster is mightily impressive.
There is at least one notable omission however – the Ice Climbers. While the lack of the Ice Climbers doesn’t ruin the game, they were a unique choice with dual attacks. Oh well. Balancing doesn’t seem to be an issue either. I can win a match with any of the fighters in the game. Some I find a little easier to use, and others I find a little harder to use. This isn’t a case of some characters being objectively better than others, but rather a personal preference. Others in the competitive scene will argue angrily about different fighter’s limitations and perks, but no character seems overpowered or even close to it.
There are a few clones in the game, but there always are in fighting games, it’s par for the course. Even then, clones in Super Smash Bros. aren’t entirely alike. There are differences between them, no matter how subtle. If you want to change the characters up a bit, you can. You can change stats, equip items and even alter the move-set of each fighter. The customisation options are a brilliant addition to the series and it’s entirely up to you if you want to make use of them or not. The Mii Fighters (Sword, Gunner and Brawler) act as a good tutorial for the customisation options, and you’ll make at least three of those. Custom characters also come into play with amiibo. Amiibos give you computer controlled fighters to use in local play, which level up the more you use them.
You can also customise the stages to some extent. A good amount of the stages have what’s called Omega Mode. This gets rid of the gimmicks on the stage, making it exactly like Final Destination. Personally, I’m not sure why you’d ruin the stages by getting rid of what makes them unique, but each to their own I guess. There are a good amount of stages too, with some returning and some new. Some are unique to the 3DS version to boot, such as the Nintendogs & Cats stage that has household items fall down on top of you.
The 3DS version doesn’t have a Stage Creator, unlike it’s Wii U brother, but it’s not the end of the world. Any stage can be used online and off, with item selection available as you choose. Stock and Time are the only available fights, with Stamina, Coin and Special Smash all missing. Stock and Time are the only ones really worth writing home about anyway, especially with a group of four. Super Smash Bros. 3DS is best when played locally (the online is solid, but connection can be a bit of an issue), as a party game.
Changes have been made to the gameplay to help incorporate the competitive scene a little more than in Brawl, such as no more random tripping and a bigger focus on combos rather than mindless move-spamming. Stage grabbing has been altered too, so you cannot hide forever hanging onto the edge of the stage. In terms of gameplay, Super Smash Bros. 3DS feels somewhere in-between Melee and Brawl, but closer to Brawl. This is a good thing. It’s faster than Brawl, yes, but unlike Melee each character has their own weight and speed of movement, and sending someone careering off the stage is very satisfying. All additions Brawl made can be found here too.
Assist Trophies and Smash Attacks are the biggest two. Smash Attacks feel more balanced than in Brawl, but there are still some that pale in comparison to most others (Rosalina & Luma, I’m looking at you). But with all items turned on, it never feels unfair. Everyone has the same advantages and disadvantages as each other, it’s just up to who picks up the item first. The new items are a blast too, with the drill and Bullet Bill being my personal favourites. Yes, this is better played as a party game, but the changes made ensure that it will have a long and successful time in the competitive scene.
Graphically, Super Smash Bros. 3DS is very accomplished. It runs smooth as butter to. It’s amazing that the 3DS can run a game like this with no technical hiccups whilst maintaining some seriously excellent visuals. It’s certainly up there with the likes of Kid Icarus: Uprising, Luigi’s Mansion 2 and Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate in the graphical department. You’d expect nothing less from Sakurai. There’s only one real issue with Super Smash Bros. 3DS – it’s not Super Smash Bros. For Wii U. Everything this game does so well is better on the home console. The separate stages are nice, but part of me would’ve liked different characters too. I know most people would’ve bought the 3DS version, but it is the worse of the two. Never mind. Most games aren’t as good as this anyway.
Super Smash Bros. 3DS is incredibly good fun. And despite the amount of content, it doesn’t take a hit in the graphical department. The framerate never drops and the glorious soundtrack sounds ace. This is one seriously well-made 3DS game. It may not be quite as good as it’s Wii U brother, but boy, you are bound to have a great time with this one.